Lead nurturing is an effective method of engaging leads in any part of your customer lifecycle. Leads receive content designed to resonate with them, depending on where they’re at in the buying cycle. This means that you can develop a relationship with your leads over a period of time.
So where do you start when building an engagement program in Marketo?
Questions you need to ask yourself are:
- What is my marketing objective of this nurture?
- What is the success criteria for this program?
- What kind of reporting do I want to get out of it?
Knowing the answers to these questions before you begin designing your program will determine the type of content, audience and methods of capturing relevant data for reporting. Other aspects you’ll need to determine are – how many streams and how many emails per stream (a rough estimate).
Let’s talk complex
For a complex engagement program, it’s helpful to draw out a high-level process plan to map out the paths that leads may take throughout the program(s). Start with the success journey, then deviate to other paths.
You may find that if you’re dealing with several segments (e.g product interest, industry, etc), you’ll want to create several nurture programs which leads can hop in and out of. Ensure you create a clear entry and exit point for scenarios like this so leads are in one program at one time (also note that Marketo’s limit is 100 engagement programs). Doing it this way means that you can report on each nurture program to measure verticals against each other.
You may also find that you want to add programs within a stream if leads need to be added to the said program as part of their nurture process.
Once the design is mapped out, including any field mapping, then begin on the program build.
Engagement program transitions should ideally be created by smart campaigns rather than using by transition rules set from the stream. The reasons being, it is easier to control and update, it’s visually easier to see and the transition rule has an included filter that you cannot remove so it provides less flexibility.
The build will generally have:
- Clear Entry (Add to Stream)
- Clear Exit (Pause from Stream)
- Influenced (Success)
- Exhausted Content Leads
Have a defined entry criteria to add leads to their stream/program, and defined criteria to move leads from one stream/program to another. Moving leads from stream to stream can be done by exhausting content in their current stream, or via interactions with assets in their current stream (e.g. clicks link in email).
Moving leads from engagement program to engagement program can be done if, for example, a lead changes product interest from Product A to Product B. In this case, they need to be paused from Product A nurture and added to Product B nurture. If you remove them entirely from the program, you also lose reporting data.
You will always need to define the success of the program by setting their program status once they reach the marketing objective. This should also be defined by a smart campaign.
For leads that exhaust content, you may consider pausing them. If you do decide to add more emails to a stream that a lead is a part of 6 months down the track, that lead will start receiving the new emails – which might be a bit confusing for them considering they’ve had little to no communication in the past 6 months. Instead, with leads who exhaust content, you may add them to a static list to market to in the future.
At any point you need to resume a lead in their stream, you can easily do so via the Change Engagement Program Cadence to Resume.
Test & Execute
Once the program is built, the final steps are:
- Test your program
- Set the cadence
It’s always a good idea to get someone else to review your work in case they can see any pitfalls. If at all possible, actually testing the program is best practice. You can do this by creating a control test group via a static list that holds only test leads, or by filtering only for your company email address. Having a set of testing journeys also helps to map out the different scenarios a lead can go through.
Once it’s ready, it’s time to set the cadence. The cadence should be in accordance with how long your customer lifecycle is. If the lifecycle tends to be a long period to when a lead converts into an opportunity, then you might consider a longer cadence.
Finally, activate your smart campaigns from the bottom up and you’re done. A complex engagement program doesn’t need to be very complex, as long as you know what you’re trying to achieve and build the foundations to do so, then you’ll create a program worth engaging with.
That is all folks. Hopefully, this will help you to create top-notch Nurturing Programs and take your Marketing Automation to the next level.
Let us know if you need any help.